BWW Review: The Mystery Train Returns With OUR BROTHER'S CAPER
The comedy adventure begins as patrons enter the dining car on the lower level of the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 1301 Wyandotte in Kansas City, Mo. OUR BROTHER'S CAPER takes to the rails to open the new season and new venues for The Mystery Train Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre. After a short hiatus from the popular dinner shows, the new season began on Friday September 4. The hiatus lasted over the summer as the theatre company found new locations for the productions.
Beginning with opening night the theatre productions will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and at the Enigma Depot located on the Mezzanine level of the Scottish Rite Temple at 1330 East Linwood Boulevard in Kansas City. Besides the location, the dinner menu changes between the Crowne Plaza and the Enigma Depot. Each offers an appetizer, salad, choice of three entrees, and desert.
Of course, audience members do not actually board a train, but all shows presented by The Mystery Train Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre takes place on a train. Dinner guests are encouraged to use a fake name on the humorous interactive murder mystery. Joining the professional cast of characters are five audience members taking the roles of Little Lulu, Hattie, Skippy, Frogger, and Miss Opal. Clues to solve the mystery are given throughout the evening until finally a master gumshoe is selected from the audience.
OUR BROTHERS CAPER written and directed by Wendy Thompson is set on a westbound train headed into Northwest Missouri in the spring of 1923. The train, designated as the orphan train, is bound for a small town in hopes of having numerous young orphans adopted by the local townspeople. In all the hilarious banter and antics a murder occurs (you had to expect it; this is the murder dinner theater). Props, costumes, and dialogue all keep the audience on track to solve the heinous crime, just after desert.
Zack Chaykin makes his Mystery Train debut with a delightful performance as Brother Jacob and Mayor Claude. With a cheesy mustache and a strand of dangling hair (remember Superman only wore a pair of glasses to become Clark Kent) he is transformed from a man of the cloth to the opposite end of the spectrum a politician. He has previously appeared at the Kansas City Fringe Festival and at Just Off Broadway Theatre.
Jessica Whitfield returns to the train in a marvelous performance as the little orphan . . . Tillie (Annie came to mind, didn't it). She has a good sense of comedic timing, utilizing humorous facial expressions, body language, and accent to keep the audience laughing through the end of the ride. At the train, she has appeared in HOLD UP ON DEAD MAN'S CREEK, A CHRISTMAS CONUNDRUM, and A GATHERING OF GANGSTERS among others.
J. Purkaple gives a good performance in his train debut as Butch the orphaned want-to-be conman. He will soon appear in No Budget Studios SUICIDE PSA. Anthony Saluto appears as the Conductor and is charged with keeping the script on track (reminding the selected audience cast members it is their turn to speak is a big part of his job and the comedy of the show).
OUR BROTHER'S CAPER continues through October 24; visit The Mystery Train Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre website for locations, menus, and to purchase tickets. Photo courtesy of The Mystery Train.
From This Author Steve Wilson